Spice Up Your Recovery

 

As athletes, we train hard.  That training requires fuel.  Did you know that recovery requires fuel as well?  And sometimes this fuel is even more important as it is what is repairing your body and preparing it for the next training session.  The better recovered you are, the better each and every training session will be.

I love to use the analogy of fuel in a vehicle.  We can give our bodies ‘regular’ fuel and have an adequate recovery; we can use ‘plus’ fuel and be a bit more recovered; or we can use ‘premium’ fuel.  This premium fuel is what will repair and prepare your body the best: decrease your risk of the random aches and pains that come on, decrease the soreness that occurs with training, and repair the natural damage that occurs to our tissues with our training.

One way we can improve the quality of our fuel is by the spices we add to our foods.  Many spices have healing properties to them. The more you use, the better your recovery.  I utilize these healing spices on a regular basis when I cook.  Between this and other foods I consume to decrease inflammation, I am rarely sore and rarely injured.

Here are the ones I use on a regular basis along with what they do for the body in the healing and recovery process:

Himalayan Sea Salt

  • Contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron.
  • Since it contains sodium as well as other electrolytes, it has a direct effect on the pH of your blood.
  • Has been said to encourage better, more restful sleep due to its high mineral content.
  • Improves absorption of nutrients from food.
  • Reduces muscle cramping.

Black Pepper

  • Rich in piperine, which works together with turmeric.
  • Jumpstarts digestion by speeding up the time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract.
  • Piperine reduces compounds known to worsen inflammation.

Oregano

  • Great healing properties as well as decreasing systemic inflammation.

Basil

  • Has anti-stress effects, normalizing levels of cortisol, lowering blood sugar, and decreasing creatine kinase.
  • Basil has a compound called eugenol.  Eugenol works by blocking cyclooxygenase, the pain-triggering enzymes also blocked by NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

Parsley

  • Contains apigenin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Rosemary

  • Powerful antioxidant.
  • Contains nutrients that can help fight inflammation.
  • Used to treat arthritis pain.

Paprika

  • High amounts of antioxidants.
  • Contains Vitamin A which decreases inflammation.
  • Treats anemia by creating hemoglobin in the blood.
  • Contains Vitamin B which helps in the production of melatonin, which aids in maintaining a normal sleeping cycle.  It also stimulates serotonin and norepinephrine levels.

Turmeric

  • Active ingredient: curcumin
  • Curcumin is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that is has been shown to protect and improve the health of virtually every organ in the body.
  • Has been found to be more effective than pharmaceutical drugs.
    • More effective in reducing inflammation that over-the-counter ibuprofen and as effective as Celebrex.

Garlic

  • Supports heart health and immune system.
  • May improve athletic performance.

Ginger

  • May reduce muscle pain and soreness.
  • Has anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Start incorporating these into your cooking to improve your fuel and your recovery!

 

Want some ideas on how to use these spices?  Check out our cookbooks!

 

Feed the Firebreather: Beverages and Breakfasts

And coming soon – Feed the Firebreather: Muscle Up Mains

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